The problem with writing my flash fiction pieces during my Thursday morning stream is sometimes I forget to actually post them. I need to take up doing scheduled posts just after stream ends so that I don’t have to make any Fraturday posts. But today, we’ll have one anyway:
Once upon a time, a mutant was dying. It moved through the city, a shambling mess of knotted muscle and vines, howling as it went. As it passed by, people closed their window shutters against the sight and sound, or slipped into darkened alleyways and hoped to remain unnoticed. Parents hushed their little ones, and masters hushed their dogs, and some even quenched the flames in their fireplaces for fear of detection. Block by block, the sights and sounds of the city dimmed as the mutant moved through it, slow and aimless lumbering, and then flared up again as soon as it moved on.
No-one knew what the mutant was, or from whence it came, only that it reeked of death. No-one knew if it cried in anger or in pain, only that these were tough times, times for each family to look out for itself. First, there had been the war. Then, in its wake, the famine and the sickness and the drought that had rendered most of the farmlands barren. Then came the mutant, large and strange, and with such company as what came before it, what could people assume but that it was more bad news.
Finally, the mutant reached the edge of the city. Leaning heavily against wall of a building, it stood still a moment and gazed out over the outstretched fields, dry grass and wilted crops for miles. The timbre of its cry shifting subtly, it hurled itself forward, a new urgency in its step. Stumbling, staggering it pressed on, past dead cattle and farmhouses where families hid out of sight. At last, in the middle of a field, it fell. A final cry, and then stillness came over it.
People crept from the farmhouses nearby, peering around corners at the fallen shape and whispering to one another. Was it really dead? Why had it come all this way just to die? Little by little, they moved closer to it, their voices losing their whispers and getting stronger in their curiosity. When the nearest person, a farmer’s child, was almost close enough to poke the mutant with a walking stick, the mass of muscle and vines suddenly lurched. Shrieks rang out, but before anyone had time to flee the mutant’s body ruptured and split open, strands of vibrant green spilling from it, gentle seedlings that burrowed into the ground and stretched in all directions. In a heartbeat, they had spread as far as the eye could see, as far as the edges of the city and the mountains far in the distance. Everything they touched, they kissed to life. Fields of grains and orchards, wild bushes and flowers, vibrant green grass shot up as if years of plentiful rain and good conditions had passed in but a moment. The farmer’s child dropped the walking stick in surprise, and it landed in a blackberry bush already heavy with fruit.
Once upon a time, a mutant had died.
As so often, this piece was inspired by a Seventh Sanctum prompt. I quite like the result!